The Body of Frankenstein, Jed Clampett, and the Tim Conway Shuffle

I have been experiencing an emotional whirlwind of heavy experiences lately.maybe the last 10 years lately.  And this week, I felt unusually exhausted… to the core.
You see, I’ve been deep sea diving.
Diving to the depths of my pains, questions, joys, intuition, and unresolved traumas.
Finding serenity in the quiet depths.  Addressing the sharks, I was always afraid of.  And embracing the strange creatures that I have never noticed. A few, or more, times I have felt choked for oxygen.  Panicked, and tried to scurry to the surface.  “I can’t breath!”  I yelled.  “Get me out of here!”
Yet, down below…there was a silence that sung so sweetly.  A voice that gently whispered:  “Not all darkness is pain.”  Like a starry night.  A void.  A womb I needed to incubate in.  I think I am still in that womb. I found Her when I descended below it all.  Her space of Grace.  Her home for the seeds of life, to combine and grow into the new being of life.  When the oxygen tank on my back finally ran out of air,  after the inner terror subsided… I found out something I never knew before.  I can breath water.  And, when I look up, I still see His warm sunny rays in the air above,  rolling gently into the oceans surface.  But for now, it’s Me and Mom time.  Umbilicalled to a quiet nourishment in the depths, listening curiously in wonderment about Dad’s voice outside.

I found a direct answer to a lingering prayer I have had lately.  I have been meditating on the phrase “body of Christ,” for some time now.  It has shown up in questions, concerns, and desires of reconciliation in my heart.

A friend I haven’t seen in ten years randomly contacted me.  She shared her story of her  recent ankle injury.  One of the most serious breaks her doctor has ever seen.  Her recovery  involved periods of lameness, surgery, receiving help from others, and self healing, and connection to her God.  ” I have never felt more vulnerable or for that matter, mortal,” she explained.  And then she said: “It’s an interesting part of healing that I had never thought about before. Our entire body has to remember to interact properly and until mine begins to remember, my balance is off, so I do a mixture of lurching around like Frankenstein with my arms out for balance, or the Tim Conway shuffle, or walk like Buddy Ebsen (Jed Clampett), all of which put pressure on different parts that have not had to deal with this awkwardness since I was a baby.”

Could this be a symbol, not only of us as spiritual individuals, but as a church institutions,  Christianity, and maybe even humanity as a whole?  Sometimes, I feel we are all vying to say the same thing, yet must continue to focus on our pronouncements of why we…as the hands are more important than the liver over there. Or how if it weren’t for the kidneys, we would all be dead, so let us worship the kidneys….and then forget the body all together.  And the head and the heart?  You know how that goes. But maybe, we as a body, unique members (hands, organs, heart, hair, feet…) just need to REMEMBER to interact properly.  Like my friend.  And deal with this awkwardness we haven’t dealt with since we were babies.  All of these Frankenstein, shuffling, Buddy Ebsen moves, Jed Clampetting, and the sometimes debilitating second hand pain it puts on the rest of the body…(God bless those carrying that extra weight right now!) is all part of the process of relearning how to walk….as a whole.  And what we need to do is a whole lot more stretches.

Ahhhh. I needed that.  Thanks, Lynette.

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The Curse: Matriarchy or Patriarchy

If your child had just been freed from bondage, and was wandering the wilderness wondering what to do – what advice would you give him/her?

But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

“No’s”  and “Yes’s” is what they got…  They were given ten of them.

The ten commandments, translated in Hebrew as the “ten words”  or “ten matters,” and claim to be just that.  They were a handful of mandates given to the children of Israel by the Lord through Moses on Mt. Sinai, to a group of newly emancipated spiritual and physical slaves.  In efforts to “preserve {them} alive,” (Deuteronomy 6:24) they were given a few things to consider.

First the “No’s.”  Eight of them. Thou shalt not have other gods before me,  not make unto thee any graven image, and take the Lord’s name in vain.  Don’t kill, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness against thy neighbor, and covet.

And the “Yes’s?”  Just two.   Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, and honor thy father and mother.

Honor thy father AND the mother…HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER.

But what does honor mean?

  • Honor (as a noun):  High respect, to esteem.  A person or thing that brings credit. Assess the merit, worth or value of.
  • Honor (verb): Regard with great respect. Pay public respect to. Fulfill (an obligation) or keep (an agreement).

This is the “first commandment with promise.”

A promise of what?

¶Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. – Deuterononomy 5:1

Wow.  That sounds wonderful for this world. Wonderful for our family relationships.  Wonderful for our nations. Wonderful for all of humanity, religion, and governing bodies.  Who doesn’t want this?  Longevity and Wellness.  The ultimate Quality of Life.

On the contrary, there is another, very real option…

He answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. – Matthew 15:3-4 (emphasis added)

Or for Mormons who are interested in a JST translation possibilities, might we humbly ponder this:

Ye have kept not the ordinances of God; for Moses said, Honor thy father and thy mother; and whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death of the transgressor, as it is written in your law; but ye keep not the law.

“But ye keep not the law.”  What are our fruits here?

That tiny little word, OR, makes all the difference.  I have accepted the option of honoring the father and the mother as a divine mandate, but not until the past few years truly considered what happens if my honoring was either/or.  Bible scripture claims it is literally the difference between life (longevity) or death.  What is “the death” that is spoken of?  I shiver.  I already know.  Who doesn’t feel it, for heaven’s sake?  How many of our current world’s governing administration is steeped in patriarchy, or still riding in it’s wake?  (Including our own individual tradition?)

We, as the children governed by these systems, flounder under the weight of oppression.

At some point it will break.  Either in our own hearts, families, or nations.

Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.  Luke 11:17

I wonder, if this is not the eventual end of all our social groups whom embrace either extreme? The extremes of either Matriarchy or Patriarchy?

When entire cultures disregard this suggestion, to honor both the mother and the father, not either/or, are we considered systemically sexist?

The only way to heal from this curse, in Christian worship or otherwise, is to start from the top… Or in other words, deep within.

Might we apply the guidance to honor the father and mother to our own Heavenly Creators?  Dig deep to the foundations we have built our houses, and seal the great fissure that has been veiled for too long.

If we believe in Heavenly Parents, might we heal the Holy Union and acknowledge it’s unique Duality in our own hearts and personal expression, and make way for tradition to shift to support the equality of both the Sacred Masculine, and the Sacred Feminine, fully in each of us?

Mother in Heaven

In response to the Mother in Heaven essay, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in October of 2015, I write my own.  I appreciate an effort to soothe member’s questions, and acknowledge the need to have this controversial conversation. However, as a woman, steeped in generational Mormon heritage, still seeking to worship in this space-  I firmly nudge, that there is more.  The full image of our Mother in Heaven is becoming increasing urgent, and until we understand Her divinity inside ourselves as a member body- we cannot receive a true understanding of eternal marriage.  Let alone, our personal identity as Divine Children. We will continue to flounder and suffer as members, unnecessarily so, until we receive Her fully.  She is more than a shew-in identity under the Parent Umbrella, with a handful of polite, modern-day references.  Now, is a unique and wonderful opportunity. When seized, Her Quiet Seat, will burst forth with Song.

And it will.  For, the Daughters are now speaking. Daughters who will not deny Her within themselves any longer.

Not just within the Church.  But across the world.

You haven’t seen anything yet.

It couldn’t have happened without Her.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that all human beings, male and female, are beloved spirit children of heavenly parents, a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother.

Yes.  This is true.  We are taught about our Heavenly Father.  We seek to remember Him.  We speak of Him.  We testify of His divinity, and of our divine connection to Him.  We strive to pattern our lives after Him.  We strive to become like Him and hope to exist with Him again. We hear stories and experiment in His guidance.  His connection.  His answers.  We freely explore this.

But this is not the same  for our Heavenly Mother.

For, at this point, although the doctrine claims Her having a rightful, honored position in the structure- that space in not fully realized or received fully in our tradition.

The doctrine of a Heavenly Mother is a cherished and distinctive belief among Latter-day Saints.

Distinctive, no.  Inferred, yes.  Cherished, unable.

At least, not yet.  We hardly speak of Her or seek to connect with Her.  Our children cannot cherish something in ignorance. And our silence on the matter is shouting for our need to speak.

Who is our Mother?

Ultimately, both men and a women can receive the answer to this question by tapping into the Mother in Heaven within ourselves. Half of our genetics are Hers. She is Co-creater of the seed of our soul. We are Her children. She will teach us. Might we listen from within?

May this be the first place to start.


 

A Day of Mother

We live in a unique time.

A few years ago a two-minute ad campaign ran in Egypt in request to “Give Mom Back Her Name,” timed to release on Mother’s Day in the Middle East. It shows on-the-street interviews with various Egyptian men. Keeping with local custom, they refuse to speak their mothers’ names in public.

“Over time, we’re told, many women have their names largely forgotten, and they are referred to as the mothers of their eldest sons. The right to one’s own name not being associated with shame or embarrassment is one step closer to equality, says Fadi Yaish, regional executive creative director at Impact BBDO. It is a basic human right. Stripping away someone’s name goes a long way toward dehumanizing that person.”

Might I suppose it is a basic eternal right, also?

Might being stripped of your eternal name, go a long way toward de-Godding a God? Or Goddess, for this matter? The right to one’s own name opens doors. If it’s true, our theology begins with heavenly parents. And that our highest aspiration is to be like them… then we have some work to do.

She is here.

She always has been.

The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.

It has been said the Christ came the first time to introduce the Father.

Might he be coming the Second to introduce the Mother?

 

Truth or Not Truth? That’s Not the Question.

I believe in personal revelation as a direct and open two-way connection with God, and rely on it heavily.  I seek to live with no strings attached to anyone before my God, as long as I follow the Spirit, and sincerely experiment on the fruits of the Word.

It is not anyone‘s right or burden to carry my responsibility of worship, and I do not feel it is helpful when others offer to take mine. Not the prophet (don’t give it or do it to the poor man,) people with callings in the church, my parents, my community, my spouse, or my children. My journey is mine.  My covenants, mine. They are mine to make and mine to break.  Mine to be accountable for.

To each their own.

I honor this.  It is our gift of choice. I strive not to give my agency away, except in vulnerability and faith to my God, whom I strive to completely surrender my will to.  For only here, I have found it safe to do so.  Only here, I have found it fruitful.

This is why I cannot claim “I know the Church is true.”

Joseph Smith pointed out Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle and ordinance of the gospel.

He didn’t put emphasis on faith in knowing the Church is true, or even faith in the Church itself.  Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is what is emphasized.  Not faith in the arm of flesh.  Not faith in the prophet. Not faith in other human being’s assessments of our spiritual journey. Not faith in our rules. Not faith in the world’s traditions.  Not faith in our fear.

For none other, but Christ himself can quench the uncomfortable vulnerabilities that might arise from not yet knowing all things.

It is said: Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.

Not our traditions.  Not our appearance.  Not even the Church.

And what of, “I have the truth…” like it is a box-to-be-checked in our spiritual progression, and we are moving on now. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I hear this claim made frequently. I know when others say it, it means something important to them. I honor that.  It is just not mine claim to make at this time. I have so much more to learn.

Scripture claims the definition of truth is:

“a knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come”

If we accept this definition of truth, then when we claim we “know the church to be true,” we are literally saying we know the church is a knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.”

Now that is an interesting claim.

I gently nudge that we potentially use the word truth out of context.

I get a kick out of finding truths that resonate with me, and hope to understand the entire framework someday.  But for now, I continually investigate, experiment, and receive – hoping to receive the whole picture someday.

If we thoughtfully embraced the above Doctrine and Covenant’s truth definition, we might acknowledge that humanity will also find a knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come outside of the church as well. In nature, in experiences, in promptings, in vision, in other religions, in history, as well as inside our very own hearts. For there is truth everywhere!  There is enough to go around.  And, it isn’t cornered on a church, but a Divine Marvelous Orchestrator- whom will weave in all of the notes, and arrange us all into a harmonious tune.  Our note is a vital part of the song.  But it is not the entire choir.

For all things denote there is a God.

Someday, all truth will be circumscribed into one, beautiful whole.  Like petals of a rose, nestled snugly together- awaiting a beautiful blossom.  And when it blossoms, we will gasp at it’s intricate beauty- and become, almost intoxicated with it’s heavenly aroma.

The danger in zealously claiming we have “arrived” at all truth, (if in fact we really do have it and have not yet received it fully,) is that we sterilize our curiosity in experimenting on the word, and risk being lulled into becoming a generation of vipers.

We have some fascinating doctrine and ideas to consider. Beliefs I embrace in my core.

Yet, is there a more effective question to hinge ALL of our religious wrestles and choices on?

What about the fruits?

Truth is important.  I love truth. Pondering truth. Trying out possible truth.  Feasting on truth.  Experiencing my truths. Becoming my truths.

“May truth be my identity.”

But truth or not truth, that is not my only question.

More importantly I urge we consider:

What are the fruits?

Grace

Grace
She takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name

Grace
It’s a name for a girl
It’s also a thought that
Changed the world

And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness
In everything

Grace
She’s got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She’s got the time to talk

She travels outside
Of karma, karma
She travels outside
Of karma

When she goes to work
You can hear the strings
Grace finds beauty
In everything

Grace
She carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips between her fingertips

She carries a pearl
In perfect condition
What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings

Because grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

Grace finds beauty
In everything

Grace finds goodness in everything

-U2

 

Perpetual Mormon Investigator

I claim the space of Perpetual Mormon Investigator.

First, because it puts language to my journey. And, second, to assert the space of grace we, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, are prone to honor in investigators of our religion more graciously, at times, then to the members themselves.

Recently we moved into a new ward. Amidst all the warm introductions and inquiries about who we were and what our intentions were for being there (for which there were many…Thank you!) – the only thing I could seem to claim for months was:  “We are visiting. We really wanted to come and take the sacrament.  We are investigators.  Perpetual investigators.”   (With a smile.) Then to be more clear, I must add:  “We are baptized members of the Church…Who are investigating the church.”

Sigh.

That is who I have always been. That is what I love about this religion.

I understand this is an odd need to share such a precise definition- but I care about the Church- and I feel this space is slowly being suffocated out of our process.

The space for people like me to breath.

Without threat, of being stoned, axed, or discredited.

So, in my Mormon life- I work to carve it back in.

This space.

The space of grace in continuing investigation.

(It is, after all, what got us here in the first place.)

The space of gray (or might it be color?!)

The 98% of color on either side of black and white.

The joy and surrender to the atonement.

The space of unknown without having it all figured out.

The space where the very cells of our souls cry out as the dust, for Christ to make it all whole- yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

The space to humbly accept ourselves as we are.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

The space to perpetually investigate – thus perpetually use faith.

The space where we might rest from our obsession to define black and white, draw a line in the sand, and demand everyone “Choose!  Choose now!” But to acknowledge black and white, revel in its wisdom, and have joyful faith in Him while working through the colors of our humanity.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The fruits of the Spirit will tell us what kind of trees we are planting, and whether they should remain in our orchard.

For, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law…And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

If we are not experiencing the fruits of this state of being towards ourselves, our God, humanity, or as a religious organization, might we consider investigation?

Here She Is

SHE

I have been buried, no longer I hide.

I have been hidden, through tradition, and lies.

I am a woman, ever changing, as tides.

Spirals of moon, bring Humanity’s kind.

I am the birther, the Master, of Transition.

An Angel in Death and Keeper of Living.

I am the Soul, to You, I will listen.

I am the Mother, The Daughter, The Soul.

I am the Voice, for which, hearts are full.

I am the honey, the milk- You may drink.

I am the She, within You and Me.

Volumes

VOLUMES

It would take volumes

Of words

To describe,

Why the volumes

Of definitions

You gave me-

Have left me

Silent.

Yet volumes,

I will speak.

Love,

Mother